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Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

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Scotland
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Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Couple with teenage son, not 'party type'.

Having just returned from fab hol in LA and San Diego, we are planning next April's holiday.

Possibly a bit more restful than that, we would like warm sunshine,long walks by the beach,, water warm enough to swim and some places of interest. We are not interested in theme parks.

We are not sure whether Miami area or Tampa, Naples on the West etc would be best.

Please advise.

miami
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1. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Scallywag>

Miami in April is glorious... this is our Easter weekend and we've just returned from the free polo matches on the beach. Spectacular cloudless day, lovely mellow crowd, professional polo players and dozens of horses running in the sand. It doesn't get much better than that!

It is not necessary to be part of the party crowd in South Beach. There are lots of lovely deals on hotels - especially seeing as you're planning a year in advance! My suggestion is to pop onto the TA forums from time to time to get a sense of the activities in the places you'd like to visit. I am not versed in the Tampa area - but I've been there and it is indeed quiet.

If you're interested in a particularly tranquil time, you might want to rent a cottage in Captiva/Sanibel on the west coast next year. There are places for hire that are really reasonable, right on the sand and even allow you to bring along the family dog! Check out the Tween Waters Inn on Captiva for more info... located on a narrow strip of land between the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound, miles of beach, incredible sunsets and swaying palms.

That might be the spot you're looking for if you just want to get away from it all.

If you are water-friendly people and good swimmers, consider the Florida Keys. John Pennecamp Park is a spectacular coral reef that is easily the most adventurous activity a novice snorkeler can have off the Florida coast. There are resorts like the Cheeca Lodge nearby as well as smaller hotels and motels. You can rent a charter boat and go fishing, try parasailing, take a glass bottom tour, swim with dolphins... everything fun in the water and sun. April would be an ideal time to check out the Keys and Key West.

Do a little research and see what your family might enjoy!

AG

Scotland
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180 posts
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2. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Than you advisor girl.

When I say we are not party pople I don't mean we want a tranquil holiday. The fact that we returned to LA from the UK within 6 months to take our son shows we certainly didn't expect calm there but it was 'wacky'. We don't stay out late so we can be up early and enjoy the day.

The defining factor will be the water temperature as, of course it was far too cold to swim in the Pacific at Santa Monica or San Diego.

Liverpool, England
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for St. Pete Beach
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3. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

You could always do both - check out Miami as Advisor Girl says then head to the Gulf Coast, wonderful beaches, nice quiet one on Pass-a-Grille south end of St Pete Beach, we always do 2 nights in Orlando then Miami/Fort Lauderdale, then St Pete, we like the contrasts. You can visit Tampa, Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Clearwater, and up to Tarpon Springs, all great days out, from St Pete.

Weather should be lovely, there is so much more to Florida than the theme parks and Disney, wonderful as they may be.

Scotland
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4. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Thanks glamourpuss.

You sound as if you know the area as well as the experts!

How do you travel between? Is it really necessary to have a car? Where would you suggest staying....areas/hotels etc?

Do you always use the same airline or do you check for new deals? Sorry for too many questions.

Thanks for any more advice you can give

Liverpool, England
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for St. Pete Beach
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5. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Hi SW,

It's the usual thing isn't it....when I lived in London I was working all the time so even though I lived there I could not say I was an expert and properly advise people visiting...lots of experts on these fora can though and some have fantastic knowledge - not all the experts live in the places they are experts for.I have spent over 2 years in total holidaying in Florida so I do know a bit...

Generally we get our flights with Travelcity and we upgrade, we get the basic car hire package and we upgrade that too when we get there as we are frequent customers and so we get a good deal. We book the hotels on the net, we get good deals again because we are frequent visitors, we visit all over Florida not just the big touristy bits (Ruskin anyone? Clewiston?) it's a great way to see the place.

It's easy to drive over there and to navigate and we find going to lots of different places in one holiday makes it seem so much longer.

Other places we really like are St Augustine, Sarasota and Venice Beach.

We have done all the theme parks to death and now only visit when there are a few new attractions at one. We love California but Florida is such an easy and quick holiday in comparison and cheap too. We don't stay at top of the range hotels, I would rather stay at a mid-priced one and go 2 or 3 times a year than pay top dollar and have 1 holiday, after all how much time do you spend in your room, I can spend what I save at Prada in Bal Harbour....yummy...

Enjoy, wherever you end up!

Scotland
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6. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Thanks glamourpuss

-you've been a great help You're right in what you say. When you live in a place you don't always get the chance to get to know it as you're so busy working.

Enjoy your next trip, wherever it may be.

Coral Springs FL
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7. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Hi Scallywag:

I grew up in Miami, and so here are a few tips.

You definitely need a car. Naples on the west coast is about 3 hours drive from Miami proper. I especially love Ft. Lauderdale, but the hotels can be pricey. If you stay a little west (20 minutes from the beach), the hotels are much less.

If you are interested in Naples, my favorite is the Naples Hotel and Club. It is far less $$ than the famous Breakers, and it is a historical place, but clean and updated.

There are tons of seafood places, stay away from the 'chains', definitely try for Joe's Stone Crab which is very famous, very expensive, but worth the price.

I personally do not love the Tampa or Clearwater area, but that is just me. I love the south and western south, and I don't like driving for hours and hours while on vacation, so if you are coming into Miami, I would be staying there....hope this helps.

Scotland
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8. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Travel luv.

We know absolutly nothing about Florida [except that Disneyworld is there].

In many ways it would be better if someone just put us 'somewhere' they thought would suit.

I did look at flights and, absurdly, BA flights, which we usually use make us change airports in london to fly home to Scotland if we fly to Miami but bring us via Miami if we go to Tampa. Most odd.

We don't want to drive much. After several great days in LA [not universal and the like] but 'living film sets'/ people watching, SD was the perfect antidote for another few days. The 3 hour Amtrack jurney we took between LA and San Diego last week was wonderful and if we could travel between cities easily by train we'd be happy.

i haven't even got to the stage of hotels yet as still deciding where.

Am I wrong in thiking that the Ocean is colder at Miami as it's not at the gulf?

Why don't you much like Tampa area?. As I said I know nothing about it, and why do you recommend Miami.

We'll be grateful for your time and comments.

Thanks

miami
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for Miami, Miami Beach
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9. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Scallywag>

The waters along Miami Beach (the Atlantic Ocean) are warmed by the Gulf Stream - warm tides that run clockwise from the Gulf of Mexico around the southern tip of the state and up the coast. This same tropical wave affects the path of tropical storms. The sea here is always temperate - not at all like the Pacific off LA and DEFINITELY not like the sea in England. By mid-summer, it feels like a bath.

If you decide to try Miami or Miami Beach for your next vacation, you can hop a southbound motorcoach KEYS SHUTTLE that will take your family down to Key West to see just where that Gulf Stream passes under the state. It's just 90 miles north of Cuba down there! Honestly, it's tropical and really lovely in the Keys and not too hot in April.

You might also take a week or weekend cruise from Miami if you want to check out Key West and the Islands of the Bahamas too. Check out the site cruisecritic.com to read travel reviews just like these... I have seen amazing deals online for cruises out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Definitely worth a look if you're still trying to work out a relaxing opportunity for the family vacation.

AG

Scotland
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180 posts
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10. Re: Florida, but Miami or Gulf coast

Thanks for good info.

One thing I'd like folk to note please. We are not in England. We are British, and live in the UK but Scotland is a country in its own right so we're either Scottish or British.

The ocean te,peratures sound ideal for us in Miami, so we'll be back for info soon thanks.